To summarize our findings thus far, it can be said that a change in Roman Catholic attitudes to Luther and the confessions has produced what the JDDJ calls a "common understanding" with "differing explications" in place of the mutual anathemas of a quarter-millennium ago--although the testimony of Borella reminded us that some Roman Catholics adamantly demur from this change in attitude.
The second section considered a series of Roman Catholic responses to Luther and the Lutherans, ranging from the clear and concise condemnations of Trent and a contemporary reminder by a traditional Roman Catholic philosopher that these condemnations are officially still in force in the "declarations of the magisterium through respectful studies of Luther by a Dominican who compares his understanding of salvation to Aquinas's and by a Jesuit who has used the Reformer in teaching Roman Catholic theology students, to the stunning "consensus" articulated in the JDDJ (albeit with "differing explications") and the encyclical Lumen fidei, in which Francis could be mistaken for Luther in key passages.
It is in this way, perhaps, that the "differing explications" of the signatories to the JDDJ find their ongoing significance as distinct perspectives within Christ's economy of salvation--complementary interpretations of the one faith that saves and the love that is its issue.
It is remarkable how many members of the generation that saw the changes of the Council remained active in the events culminating in the JDDJ
(including, of course, the present Pope Benedict XVI, whose support for the JDDJ
is emphasized here).
The "reception" of JDDJ, the process by which the churches practically "receive" this newly claimed doctrinal consensus into their own everyday life and ministry, is hard to gauge.
And so it is in JDDJ and the churches' teaching on justification that informs it: "While Catholic teaching emphasizes the renewal of life by justifying grace, this renewal in faith, hope, and love is always dependent on God's unfathomable grace and contributes nothing to justification about which one could boast before God" (JDDJ, no.
21) As JDDJ puts it, the "message of justification tells us that as sinners our new life is solely due to the forgiving and renewing mercy that God imparts as a gift and we receive in faith, and never can merit in any way" (no.
This relates perhaps especially among Lutherans and Catholics to the formal agreement on basic truths of the doctrine of justification found in the 1999 Lutheran-Catholic JDDJ, which was formally endorsed also by the World Methodist Council in 2006.
With the signing of the JDDJ we recognize that Lutherans, Catholics, and Methodists (and, I believe, others) share "the consensus regarding the basic truths" of the doctrine of justification (JDDJ, no.